[Warning for Spoilers]
Lady Saika: Well, Lady Geek Girl has dragged me into this fandom as well, and I have to say: the season three tagline was a bit of an understatement. “Might” hurt? My ass.
But now we’re on hiatus (does the Teen Wolf fandom have a silly word for hiatuses like Supernatural‘s ‘hellatus’ and Hannibal‘s ‘he-ate-us’? Howlatus?) until January, and we can sit back, lick our wounds, and collect our thoughts about the first twelve episodes of season three.
Lady Geek Girl: Now, Madame Ace and I have delved into Teen Wolf before. We discussed both seasons one and two, as well as feminism in Teen Wolf and race issues in Teen Wolf. I have praised Teen Wolf before, because, while not perfect, it is a very feminist show. This season I had high hopes for the show to continue with its usual feminist themes. And while we still have many strong female characters and feminist themes, the ladies certainly took a hit this season.
Stiles and his dad are fond of saying once is an incident, two is a coincidence, and three is a pattern. Well, I’m seeing a pattern in Teen Wolf that I don’t particularly like. Why has every female villain each season died, but our male villains have lived to fight another day? So far we have Kate Argent dying in season one, while Peter comes back to life. Victoria Argent dies in season two, but Gerard lives. And in this first half of season three, both Kali and Jennifer die, while the Alpha Twins and Deucalion get to live. That’s unacceptable, especially since most, if not all, of these lady villains are far more interesting than the male ones.
Lady Saika: Kate I can even forgive, because she was intended to be Totally Evil, but Mrs. Argent, Kali, and especially Jennifer were interesting and three-dimensional, and I’m really frustrated that they’re gone. I was upset about Jen being the darach at first, because it seemed like it was going to validate a lot of the frightening hate the character was getting from Sterek fans. However, Haley Webb really brought a lot of nuance to the role, and wasn’t just a cackling, witchy big bad. And now who are we left with as villains? Fucking Gerard, and fucking Peter Hale, both of whom should have been dead ages ago, and about whose characters I give less than zero fucks.
Lady Geek Girl: I actually disagree about Kate. In season one and two there is some implication that she was on orders from Gerard and that Gerard was twisting and manipulating Kate the same way he did Allison. I’m not saying that excuses anything she did, but I think there is definitely more to Kate than we are shown in the show, which was why I was so excited about the flashback episode. But no, instead of getting to see flashbacks of young Derek and Kate, we were introduced to Paige.
I don’t have a problem with Paige’s character per sé, but rather how she was used in the narrative of Teen Wolf. Paige, Heather, and the Mysterious Girl (aka Braeden from season three’s first episode) are all used to further male characters’ storylines and character development. Paige, in my opinion, is one of the worst, as she fulfills the Euthanized Damsel trope. This trope features a male hero being unable to save the damsel and must tragically put the female character “out of her misery.” Watching Paige beg Derek to kill her was probably the all-time low in this season of Teen Wolf. Paige’s death was used to further the overall plot of the show but also to create more manpain for Derek. And really, if there ever was a character that didn’t need more manpain, it’s Derek. Was his backstory with Kate really not tragic enough? Could there have been no other way to have a connection between Derek and Jennifer without this random death? The writers relied on these archaic sexist tropes to do their storytelling when just being a little more creative would have eliminated the need for this pointless and horrifying death.
At least the flashback episode proved that Peter was an evil douche before the fire. That was vindicating.
Lady Saika: Derek’s manpain deserves its own acting credit, honestly, for all the attention it got this season. We learned about his depressing-ass past, he gave up his alpha-hood to save his dying sister, his new girlfriend turned out evil and is now dead, and his whole pack is dead, except Isaac (the one white boy, shocker, and who is arguably part of Scott’s pack at this point anyway). Yep, add Erica and Boyd to the above list of “characters fridged as a plot device/for Derek’s manpain”. Erica barely got any screentime this season—she was pretty much dead as soon as she showed up, and Boyd died the most pointless and preventable death of the whole season, I’d say. Seriously, I was embarrassed watching him get stabbed to death on Derek’s fingernails.
Lady Geek Girl: I’m less pissed about Erica’s death, considering the actress was leaving the show and because we did get some closure with her. Seeing her fight Kali instead of just being found dead was nice. At least let the lady characters go down fighting.
But Boyd dies of injuries we have seen literally every other character survive. In season one, Peter also claws through Derek’s stomach when he’s a beta to the point where Scott and Stiles think he’s dead, but does Derek die? Of course not. I’m especially pissed about Boyd’s death because we were promised Boyd’s backstory this season and only got the briefest mention of a dead sister (aka another woman fridged for the sake of storytelling and I mean she was literally shown in a refrigerator). I wanted to know more about his sister, about his family, why Boyd didn’t have any friends, and clarity on why he wanted to be a werewolf. What I got was one episode that gave some exciting backstory and then he died! I actually thought Boyd’s character was safe this season, thinking they were going to expand on his character, but no!
With Kali, Boyd, Braeden, Boyd’s sister, and Sheriff Stilinski’s deputy dead this season, we lost five characters of color. Braeden, aka The Girl, was another tough one since she was introduced in episode one as this badass black female character, but since she died at the end of the episode, it was almost like her only purpose was to save Isaac and reveal that Scott was becoming an Alpha, which everyone already knew from the promos anyway.
Lady Saika: And the last thing that we need to bitch about: Deucalion getting his eyesight back. From Bobby Singer to Barbara Gordon, the ugly trope of magically healing the disabled is something that we are very against. It neatly removes any representation for people with disabilities and sends the message that people with disabilities are not whole people and need to be healed to live a full life. It also seems to apply a moral standard to disability: if you are a good enough person—if Our Hero believes you deserve it—you can be healed. If you’re still disabled, then you must have done something wrong.
All of the above is even more depressing when you consider what the show has managed to do right. For example, I really appreciated the way that they didn’t draw out unnecessary awkwardness between Scott and Allison through the whole season. They still obviously care about each other, but they didn’t waste too much screentime showing them mooning over love lost.
Lady Geek Girl: I agree—the portrayal of true masculinity this season was extremely feminist. And yes, masculinity is still a feminist issue. Men can be feminists too! Scott and Allison’s relationship is a prime example of that. In supernatural fiction, the standard seems to be possessive jealous males fighting over a female character. Scott, being the prince he is, does none of that. Though he still seems to love Allison, he doesn’t become jealous of Isaac or angry at Allison over their growing relationship.
Furthermore, Derek, who in previous seasons was so concerned with power and control, actually gives up his alpha status to save the life of his sister. He finally realized that being the Alpha and having all the power and control is not what’s important.
But Scott is probably my favorite, and now that Scott is the True Alpha, a lot is being said. Scott always being a good person and doing the right thing is what allows him to become a True Alpha. I think the message that being a True Alpha (or a true alpha male) is not about having power and control over everything else, but being kind and helping and respecting others. That’s pretty awesome.
Lady Saika: Furthermore, now that Scott’s the Alpha and has really claimed his birthright or whatever and come into his power, that means that the head Alpha is a person of color for the first time on this show.
Also, for whatever it’s worth, I am sort of glad that the Alpha Twins got their redemption, because it means that Danny and Ethan continue to be a happy couple. I talked about what it meant for the two of them to have a canon sex scene just like the heterosexual couples on the show in a previous post, and even after that episode I was concerned that something bad was going to happen to one of them for the sake of plot drama. Although at this point, really, I sort of would really like Danny to be in on the whole supernatural schtick. Now that Lydia and Papa Stilinski are up to speed… there’s pretty much only Danny left out of the loop.
Lady Geek Girl: Stydia also finally happened this season. I actually really enjoyed finally seeing a Stydia kiss. Watching the building friendship between Lydia and Stiles has been great, but I was nervous when I heard about the kiss scene between the two characters. The writers could have easily made it seem like Stiles deserved a kiss from Lydia because he’s a “nice guy”, supporting the idea that men who are nice to women are owed some sort of sexual gratification. But I think writers avoided those issues pretty well. Lydia kisses Stiles to help calm him down when he is having a panic attack and Stiles never acts as if Lydia has owed this to him and doesn’t seem to expect anything from Lydia after the kiss.
Lady Saika: Lydia continues to be one of my favorite characters, and I’m so thankful that she’s finally been included in the Big Werewolf Secret Club. What I would like to see, though, is a deeper exploration of what it means that she’s a banshee. Does that mean she’s not human? Or, like the druids, does it mean she is human but with a special skill set? With a number of new supernatural creatures being introduced in season 3B, I hope that they save some time to explain exactly what being a banshee means for Lydia.
Lady Geek Girl: And for those of you concerned with how the confrontation between Peter and Lydia was handled, don’t worry. Jeff Davis has stated that the conflict between the two characters will develop more in season 3B. I personally just want to see Lydia and
Melissa McCall team up to brutally murder Peter. That’d be fun.
One of the best things that happened this season was the development of Lydia and Allison’s friendship. In past seasons we really didn’t see much of their relationship, largely because Lydia didn’t know about the werewolves and, really, how close could Lydia and Allison be if Allison had to lie to Lydia all the time? So it’s great to see them together more. We need more female friendships on TV.
Lady Saika: I’m also happy about Allison in general. Partially as a result of her breakup with Scott, she really got her own independent storyline this season and I thought it was awesome! She has really come into her own as a badass, powerful female character, and in a family like the Argents where women are apparently leaders but we’ve never actually seen them lead, it’s nice to see her really taking charge. I’m excited to see her grow as a character even more in the second half of the season.
Lady Geek Girl: It’s going to be a long wait for the second half of the season. Hopefully season 3B will fix some of the problems with the first half of this season and continue to develop the few things the show is doing well.